The world is in a “very dangerous period” of the coronavirus pandemic which is compounded by more transmissible variants like the Delta, first found in India, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing on Friday, 2 July.
“Delta variant is dangerous and is continuing to evolve and mutate, which requires constant evaluation and careful adjustment of the public health response,” he said.
The Delta variant is quickly becoming the dominant strain in many countries, but no country is out of the woods yet, Dr Tedros said.
The WHO chief said that there are essentially two ways for countries to push back against new surges. Apart from public health and social measures like strategic testing, surveillance, isolation, other mandatory protocols like wearing masks, maintaining physical distancing, avoiding crowded areas must be followed.
He urged that by September this year, at least 10 percent of all people, and by this time around next year at least 70 percent people across the world must be vaccinated, and urged companies to share vaccine knowledge.
“In particular, I urge those companies BioNTech, Pfizer and Moderna to share their know-how so that we can speed up the development of new production. The sooner we start building more vaccine hubs and upping global vaccine capacity, the sooner we can diminish deadly surges,” Dr Tedros said.
The COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update published by WHO had said that as of 29 June 2021, 96 countries have reported cases of the Delta variant.
As it is highly transmissible, the Delta variant is “expected to rapidly outcompete other variants and become the dominant variant over the coming months,” it read, as reported by news agency Press Trust of India.
Meanwhile, India on Saturday, 3 July, reported 44,111 new coronavirus cases and 57,477 recoveries in the last 24 hours. The death toll stood at 738 in the last 24 hours, the Union Ministry of Health said.
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